Northern Michigan Beaches

Click on location for driving directions. Click the optimal wind directions for current wind speed. Information and pictures are updated regularly. Please link to this site if you use this content.

Manistee Rideable Wind Directions – NE,NNE,N,NW,W,SW,W

Manistee is a great location for kiteboarding and judging by the lack of crowds it may very well be Michigan’s best kept secret. There are two main public beaches in the city(1st street, and 5th avenue) and access to them is quick and easy. The Lake Michigan landscape is filled with picturesque clay cliffs and sand dunes. What you will not see are factories and lots of houses. Homeowners on the lake are very laid back in Manistee and you aren’t going to see “Private Beach” signs along the shoreline here. The only time Manistee beaches get “crowded” is during the 4th of July holiday but even then you will find plenty of space to launch and land.

Nordhouse Dunes (Map) – Current Conditions In Manistee

Look to the east from Lake Michigan on a hot summer day and you’ll feel like you’re in a desert with the large uninhabited sand dunes lining the landscape. Take plenty of water. It’s around a mile hike to the lake from the parking lot and there is a nominal parking fee. A great spot to camp and kite if you enjoy roughing it. Bring some TP because there is no public bathrooms or outhouses.

Federal Park(Map) Current Conditions In Manistee – Rideable Wind Directions N, NW, W, SW, SSW

Federal park is one of the more remote locations to kite in Manistee county It’s a great family campground and get’s pretty busy in the summer time.  Federal Park is adjacent to Nordhouse dunes. I’ve had good success here on a SW.

Magoon Creek Natural Area(Map)Current Conditions In Manistee – Rideable Wind Directions N, NNW, NW, W, WSW

Park in the lot at the end of the gravel road on top of the bluff. Hike down the old two track to the creek and head out to the beach. The highlight here is the park area which includes grills and tables on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Young ones will enjoy the creek and others might like hiking the trails in the park to an old farm. Good spot to take family and friends for a picnic or BBQ and still be able to score some riding.

Sundling Park(Map)Current Conditions In Manistee – Rideable Wind Directions N, NW, W, SW, SSW

Sundling park is a few miles south of Manistee It’s a small park and a short hike to the water. The beach is not very wide but it’s a good landing place for a downwinder from 1st street or if you are looking to get out in Manistee on a more southerly wind.

1st Street Beach(Map)Current Conditions In Manistee – Rideable Wind Directions NE, NNE, N, NW, W, WSW, SW

Head to 1st street beach on a North wind and park in the lot closest to the pier. Usually there is a lot of open space near the pier that is good for launch. On a north wind the L shaped south pier creates large swells with long spacing in between and surprisingly little chop. These are some of the best waves you will find on the lakeshore and is great for freestyle or surf style riding. One of the few places on the shoreline where a NE is rideable and not offshore. However, a NE can be a little unpredictable and more gusty.

5th Avenue Beach(Map)Current Conditions In Manistee – Rideable Wind Directions SW, WSW, W

This beach is wider and longer than 1st street. The contour of the lakeshore makes this beach off limits for a south wind but it’s great for a south west or west wind. The north pier at 5th avenue beach is one of two in Michigan with a catwalk and provides a nice backdrop while kiting. You need a STRONG Southwest(25 knots +) or a WSW to West wind to ride powered here. The land and channel to the south knock down the wind significantly especially right by the pier. Launch either at the North end of the beach or at the south end next to the pier.

Petobego Pond – Wind Direction: Any

Park at Maple Bay and it’s about a mile from the parking area to the pond. Follow the conservancy-posted signs that indicate that you can walk along the shoreline all the way to the public land (the area between Maple Bay and Petobego is privately-owned, and once you get a bit into the hike, signs just ask that you don’t trespass up onto the land). The sand is mostly packed, so it’s not an arduous trek, though you will probably have to divert into the water a bit here and there to avoid the driftwood. -Thanks to Adventures Up North for the great directions!

Elk Rapids Park (Just South of Elk Rapids) – Wind Direction NNW, N
Elk Rapids (North Beach) – Wind Direction NNW, N
Antrim Creek Natural Area – Wind Direction WNW, NW, NNW
Banks Township Park (Norwood) – Wind Direction: WNW, NNW, NW
Fishermans Island St Park (Whiskey Creek) – Wind Direction WSW, W, WNW, NW, NNW, N

Hike in with rocky beaches. Probably a bit of a stretch to kite here.

Fishermans Island St Park (Bells Bay Rd) – Wind Direction W, WNW, NW, NNW, N, NNE, NE

Parking here. Rocky beaches

Charlevoix – Wind Direction: WSW, W, NW, N ,NE:

During the tourist season ask the lifeguard at the city beach if it’s okay to launch before heading out. Like a lot of places in Northern MI, the water in Charlevoix is crystal clear with light aqua shades to deep blues that allow you to see straight to the bottom.

Petoskey St Park – Wind Direction W

Pretty deep, narrow bay off Lake Michigan. W would be clean but straight onshore

Cross Village (Port of Cross Village Park) – Wind Direction: W, WNW, NW, NNW, N, NNE:

Intriguing spot up in the far north of lower Michigan. Secluded with wide beaches. WSW and NE might be possible here too. Needs a visit.

Wilderness State Park – *Wind Direction SW, WSW, W, WNW, NW, NNW, N, NNE, NE, ENE:

Park looks to be pretty accessible by car with and it is a popular state park in the summer months. Hiking might be necessary as well. *Available wind direction dependant on your location on beach in park.

Beaver Island – (Expert Only) Wind Direction: Any

Access island by ferry or airplane. Transportation, stores and lodging available on island. Hiking might be necessary as well.

Leave a Reply